Saturday, March 04, 2006

Why Everyone Hates The Music Industry

The link above will take you to an opinion piece at's site by Fredric Paul.

Remember when CDs were just coming in? The music companies told us that once the format was established and manufacturing costs came down, prices would fall and artists would receive an increased percentage of revenues. Really, they did! And in front of Congressional committees, if I recall correctly. Did any of that happen? Nope! Not a bit of it. Their promises were conveniently forgotten, though the conditions forecast to lower costs came true in spades.

Our listeners probably already know everything that is in this article. But there are a lot of folks who simply don't get what the fuss is all about. If you know one or more of them, send them this link and explain that what we are seeing from the music and other content companies is simply a refusal to accept reality and get on with business in a different way.


Recent Apple Security Issues Put in Perspective

Yes, Apple does indeed have security issues. However, it appears even my low-key assessment of them was overstating the case(s).

The link above will take you to an article at MIT's "Technology Review" web site. It's fairly easy read and I think it's the best depiction of the reality of Apple's security status I have seen. Even if you're not a Mac user, it wouldn't hurt to read this and see something of the differences between the Mac OS X and whatever you are using.


Friday, March 03, 2006

Take the Poll about Forums!

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Why? We have newsgroups.
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--MissM this week with Gina Smith!

For the long time listeners of On Computers, I thought I'd let you know that the next TWiT is at the Apple Store in San Francisco. Live!! March 3, 2006!! Check out the url in the title or at the bottom of this post for the time, and rest of the info. For those of you who've wondered what Gina's up to these days, might wanna check it out. The audio is usually up a few days before the video, if you can't make it. Other guests: "include Screen Savers Patrick Norton and Kevin Rose, Molly Wood of CNET's Buzz Report, former ABC tech reporter, Gina Smith, and Apple founder, Steve Wozniak. Special guest: Merlin Mann of 43folders."
Sounds to me like a little bit of everything for listeners of OnComputers.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mystery surrounds PC-to-mobile virus

This is not much of a story about malware for PC to mobile device transmission. The reason is that one of the players is not sharing the code of the virus so other firms can analyze it and guard against it.

Kinda makes me wonder what MARA is about and I'm sure it will have the same effect on you. Certainly this has the smell of hype all about it and we won't know the truth until MARA comes clean, if ever that happens.

This is one to watch.


Apple Plugs Mac OS X Worm Hole

It's just a quick story detailing what was patched and why. If you're a Mac user, you need to check out their updates pages. For the rest of us it is just a passing curiosity.

As I've said before; I don't think Apple is particularly forthcoming in matters of security. In fact; I'd rate them lower than Microsoft in this area. There is no doubt, though, that they can and often do respond quickly to a threat.

The Mac OS X is indeed coming under greater scrutiny from a security standpoint. That's good, as it will lead to holes being plugged before they become real problems. But it's also bad because malicious types can use security research as a jumping off point in finding vulnerabilities, and they will, too.

I do think the time is come for Mac users to run an anti-virus. Don't run out and spend all your dough on one. Try ClamAV, which is free and open source. For right now, that is all you need and as ClamAV is improving so rapidly, it may well be all you'll ever need.

You can find out more about ClamAV for the Mac at this url.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Internet Explorer tweak made public

Can you say "SPIN"?

What this really is is a redo of how IE executes ActiveX controls to avoid infringing upon patents held by Eolas and the University of California. It's a court-ordered fix and there is no "tweak" to it, except maybe in a legal sense.

It's there if you want it. So far, no one is forcing you to take it and, frankly, I won't apply it unless I have to. I have ActiveX turned off in IE, except when I visit Windows Update, for security reasons.


China creates own Internet domains

News of this is everywhere. The link above points to a ZDNet UK article, which I felt was one of the more balanced.

It seems China is tired of having to use English characters to access the web and so has created domains accessable by using Chinese characters.

There are a lot of nations whose people feel the same way. They want to access the net using their own language and characters. There is more to the argument than that, to be sure, but that appears to be the crux of it. In addition, nations such as China resent the control the US government has over ICANN, and ultimately over the net itself.

Much remains to be seen about China's action. This is definitely a story to watch, though.


New RedBrowser Trojan first to target J2ME

For the last 9 months, or thereabouts, we have been bombarded with news that mobile devices will be malware targets. The prediction came true.

The Red Browser sends text messages from your mobile device to premium-rate phone numbers. The article says it is relatively easy to deal with and should be regarded as a proof of concept program. The infection route is different than any predecessors I am aware of because it targets J2ME, Sun Microsystem's mobile Java implementation.

It's sure bet there is more of this "stuff" to come.


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

My New Home Page

PreScript: The link in the title and at the bottom (for you RSS visitors) may not work without a Passport account (which can be any hotmail account as far as I know), but the Maps do still work without logging in, or did today.

Finally! Something that's worth signing in with my Passport from Microsoft, except Security Updates. OK, that makes two. I can't tell you how irritated I was that you needed a passport account to get the security updates. But, I thought it was a necessary evil. Anyway, back to the good stuff. I am hooked on Windows Live, you can put RSS feeds in (hint, hint) you can drag items around, its very similar to the Google personalized homepage, with one important difference. The pictures on the feeds rotate, which is very kewl, and a feature that really draws my eye. I have weather, movies, and of course the On Computers Blog. You need a passport account to get there now, I believe, when it was early beta, anybody could use it, but I had trouble before getting an invite to the beta hotmail [(yes 2GB of storage, no extra invites, but I notice that I have 0, which leads me to believe, at some point, I'll get some)] signing up, then progressing from there.

One other favorite part of is Maps! The aerial view resolution seems a lot better than google's currently. They have very high resolution pictures of many places, one of which is Las Vegas, they call em bird's eye views, its on the left side column (Its a javascript link, or I'd paste it) At least, the places I'm looking for geocaches. :) To get an overview of all of the Live Beta ideas, check this out. I know there are similarities to what Google is doing, (although to be honest, "Who's on first?" is unknown for me, its so dynamic. I think the competition is good for the Microsoft, Google, and us! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, no?

Which leads me to the picture below. I captured my screen with Einstein beside OnComputers. It didn't occur to me when I did it, but since we only have one picture, Einstein shows up with the OnComputers Feed. ;)

Hmmm, posting this picture is gonna make it show up too, But Einstein Listens is the last post that shows, so I bet that "big einstein" moves off the page :( and this one shows up.
I guess my point was made ;)

Windows Live
update: According to TechCrunch : Killer New Service: Street-Side, Live Expo has gone, well, live. ;)

Mike Arrington continues:
Searches can be made by address or business name, and you can “drive” around the city using the arrow keys. See the screen shot below for a visual.

See Robert Scoble’s Channel 9 Video for his interview with the team.

The service will initially target San Francisco and Seattle only due to the massive number of images needed to support make it work (rumors are 10 million + images per city).

Encyclopodia - the encyclopedia on your iPod

Courtesy of Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing, a way to install Wikipedia on your ipod.
Its free software, there's installation instructions for Windows or Linux & Mac.
Since the Wikipedia is everchanging, I wonder if that would just add to the list of "chores" necessary on a regular basis, with computers. How large a file is that? I was thinking of how frequent the updates would be, if they were "podcast" or updated automagically with RSS, maybe by subject? To minimize the size and maximize the "freshness".
One way to "freeze" wikipedia for whatever reason. Lots of potential, here.

OT: Leo Laporte's podcasts from KFI are delayed by a week, at best, couple weeks, at worst. I sometimes feel that tech news is dated, but Leo proved me wrong. ;)
I was listening to his Jan. 28th podcast today, and I learned something new! Apparently Mandrake has been reborn under the name of Mandriva, that maybe old news for those fans of Mandrake, but just in case, I thought I'd pass it on. :)

Encyclopodia - the encyclopedia on your iPod

Corsair XMS vs. Value Select Memory (RAM)

Here's a recent article that is much very in line with what we discussed on Sunday's show about selecting RAM.

It is also right in line my own experience with brand name, but the value lines of RAM. If you are not overclocking it is a great way to go.

It's the Power Supply !!

While we were talking about building your own computer, this last Sunday, we were trying to convey (among other things) that you are building a system, which is more than an assemblage of components.

Here's a cautionary tale from The Inquirer where the very type of power supply (single rail versus dual or multiple rail) makes a huge difference to the quality of performance of other components.


Monday, February 27, 2006

Microsoft unveils Vista editions

Okay, now we finally know. The magic number is 6.

Microsoft said the six versions were designed to match the demands different users have for its software. No details have been given about the pricing of the separate versions.

Now color me skeptical, but I think this has much more to do with maximizing profit than with user experience.

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 02-26-06

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 02-26-06. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.